POETS’ CORNER: Runaway Train

31st May 2019

‘Surprise!’ ‘Happy 40th’, scream the silver banner,
Garish balloons and streamers
‘40’s the new 30!’
Live it up, sky dive, splurge on a dream holiday!

 

And I do…
I do it all,
Spa days, hiking, biking, makeovers galore,
Even a child-free, second honeymoon,
Basking in the romance of faded youth

 

So why do I find myself, of late,
At night, lying awake
Uneasy, queasy… afraid?

 

Like a lone, half-blind driver
At the helm of a racing train,
Hurtling forward at dizzying speed,
Unsure where it will lead

 

It’s exhilarating, bracing, fun,
A whirlwind of perpetual motion!
Yet unnerving, disorienting, insipid
A sensory blur, no meaning or spirit

 

So I slam down the brakes,
And life chugs along at a far duller pace,
Work, kids, work, sleep,
A mechanical, clockwork routine…

 

Fast or slow, right or left,
What does it really matter?
I have no ultimate end in mind
If life’s a journey, I’m only in it for the ride

 

And yet,

 

I am loathed to lead a runaway train,
Veering and careening towards a blind fate
Through dark, desolate nights,
I grope for truth, direction,
Light

 

For so long, I have lived
In worldly shadow and spectre,
Oblivious to beauty and truth immaterial
…Is it too late to start over?

 

I raise filled eyes,
Trembling hands
‘My Lord, I am 40…
My youth squandered, passed,
Yet let maturity be a journey to You,
To Beauty, Love and Peace unsurpassed.’

Fatema Valji

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